I consider myself a foodie. I love food. Now, I've had people point out that a lot of people love food, because it's necessary to our continued existence.
But let me make myself clear: I am obsessed with food. I follow Instagram accounts that profess their love to foods over human beings. Food is bae. I find myself obsessing over everything from the micro-level chemical reactions that occur when cakes bake or meat caramelizes to the macro-level composition of meals surrounding which food ought to be paired with which wine, beer, or other beverage pairing.
I can point to a moment in my life when I started obsessing over food: about 10 o'clock one Friday night when I was about 13, when I realized that I could watch Unwrapped on the Food Network when I was staying at my dad's house. And then when I realized I could watch the Food Network when I woke up Saturday morning. Or that I could watch Iron Chef at 3 AM when I couldn't sleep. Food was solace when I didn't know what else to do.
The day I found out how to make brownies from scratch was a day that my life changed forever. I had done some minor baking in Home Ec. and had been making some breakfast foods for years, but the moment I discovered baking from scratch, I discovered my sanctuary.
Baking and cooking are a form of stress relief for me. When I am deep in perfecting a recipe, nothing in the world can distract me or make me feel less-than. Even when the finished product is not quite what I've expected, the lessons I learn in the process only serve to drive me to learn more.
There is a part of me that has thought, at multiple times throughout my college and graduate school career, that I ought to drop out and pursue culinary school. I've been asked if I've ever considered opening a bakery or pursuing a career as a food critic -- the fact is, I've strongly considered both.
I worry sometimes that following my love of food into a career would turn a pastime and retreat into a task on my to-do list. They say that if you find a career you love, you'll never work a day in your life. But I love academics, and I still find days when I need the escape. To have my escape taken away would be absolutely heartbreaking.